Top Chef star Fatima Ali has died at age 29. Chef Bruce Kalman, who was close friends with Ali, shared the news on Instagram on Friday, January 25.
“It’s with a heavy heart we say goodbye to Fatima Ali today, as she has lost her battle with cancer,” he wrote. “I will miss you Fati, and you will be in my heart forever. I’ll always remember the great times we had, especially our interview during the tailgating episode discussing football, stadiums, and Taylor Swift.”
Bravo network also released a statement to Twitter: “We are deeply saddened to hear the news that Fatima Ali lost her courageous battle with cancer,” the tweet read. “Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this time. People not only fell in love with her cooking, but fell in love with her personality and heart.”
The season 15 alum revealed to fans that her health was declining with an update about her condition on Instagram on January 11. “I know it’s been ages since I posted and most may have figured out why,” she captioned a selfie in her hospital bed. “I’m sick and unfortunately I’m getting sicker. Right now all I need are prayers; prayers that are simple. I hope, because a wish is putting on too much responsibility on the other, that you will somehow find forgiveness in your big heart for whenever I must have hurt you. I thank you a million times over for when you have given me joy.”
Ali suffered from Ewing’s sarcoma, a terminal cancer of the bone and soft tissue. She was diagnosed with the disease in late 2017, but announced that she was cancer-free in February 2018.
In October, the Chopped winner revealed the grim news that the cancer had returned with an essay in Bon Appétit’s Healthyish. “The cancer cells my doctors believed had vanished are back with a vengeance in my left hip and femur bone,” she wrote. “My oncologist has told me that I have a year to live, with or without the new chemotherapy regimen. I was looking forward to being 30, flirty and thriving. Guess I have to step it up on the flirting. I have no time to lose.”
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I know it’s been ages since I posted and most may have figured out why. I’m sick and unfortunately I’m getting sicker. Right now all I need are prayers; prayers that are simple. I hope, because a wish is putting on too much responsibility on the other, that you will somehow find forgiveness in your big heart for whenever I must have hurt you. I thank you a million times over for when you have given me joy. I’ll try to keep everyone updated the best that I possibly can.
That same month, the cooking guru opened up exclusively to Us about her friendship with Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi, who was present for one of Ali’s surgeries in January 2018. “Padma has taken out much time for me and my family. Coming to sit with me during chemo, popping in with homemade khichdi or sending over delicious chicken and homemade samosas,” she told Us at the time. “While battling cancer, I have had energy for little else sometimes, and knowing that I have such a strong support system around me brings me great peace.”
The New York-based chef appeared on Chopped in 2013, but is best known for her 2017 appearance on the Bravo hit, during which she was named fan favorite. She has also appeared on General Hospital.
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